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Harrison vs. Haye Preview – WBA Heavyweight Title

Since Haye vs. Harrison was first announced this fight has been the subject of ridicule in Boxing forums and blogs alike. I said months ago on this site that this was the right fight to make. The Klitschko weren’t in play, and from a purely business perspective, this was the best match up that could be made.

Let’s forget about what is going on in the Cowboy stadium for just a moment. On this side of the Atlantic, Pacquiao/Margarito is little more than an afterthought. Haye vs. Harrison is the big fight here this weekend. This bout has got people talking about Boxing. It’s captured the interest of the press, the M.E.N arena is completely sold out, and it’s set to do huge PPV business domestically. This was absolutely the right fight to make. Nothing is going to change my mind on that.

Is Harrison the most deserving challenger? No, but that’s irrelevant. This is a rivalry people are interested in. When I turn on the TV, when I pick up a newspaper, all I’m hearing about is this fight. I can only assume that if Haye was defending against another “more deserving” challenger this would not be the case. This will be a fantastic occasion for Boxing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a one round blow out or a twelve round war. This bout has captured the public’s imagination.

David Haye SHOULD win this fight. Let’s just get that out of the way. That is what is supposed to happen. He’s younger, faster, and a hell of a lot more accomplished inside the professional ring. Harrison has been a perennial underachiever as a pro. Haye has shown him no respect as an opponent. In doing so he may be setting himself up for a fall. He’s reiterated time and again that Audley has no business being in the ring with him. The pressure is now firmly on Haye. Nobody expects anything from Harrison. Anything less than a Haye demolition will now be considered below par.

Here’s the thing, as much as people like to deny it: Harrison can box. This guy is an olympic gold medalist with an absolute sledgehammer for a left hand. If he hits any heavyweight clean, it’s curtains. The word from camp is that he’s looked incredible in sparring. He knows at 39 it’s now or never for him. On the other side of the ring is David Haye taking him lightly? Could a motivated Harrison catch him with his eye of the ball?

All these elements combined make for a very intriguing match up.

The biggest area of concern for Harrison is Haye’s speed. The Hayemaker is exceptionally quick for a heavyweight. Audley, while never swift has looked particularly ponderous in recent bouts. Yesterday’s weigh in may have given us a little insight into Haye’s strategy. He hit the scales at 210 pounds; his lightest ever as a heavyweight. He’s looking to maximize that speed advantage. I think he wants to make this a firefight. In a shootout, Haye will be too fast. Harrison won’t be able to get shots off.

Harrison needs to slow the pace right down and frustrate Haye. Let him burn up energy. Audley has a long power jab. He needs to throw it with conviction, close the gap, tie up, and wait for separation. The clinch is where he can make that weight advantage count most. He needs to make the smaller man carry his weight. It’s a strategy Lennox Lewis used to implement to perfection. A few wrestling exchanges will take a lot of the sting out of Haye’s work.

Neither of these guys have stellar chins, so once the big bombs start landing somebody is going down. I expect this one to be early doors whichever way it goes. The smart money is on Haye to overwhelm Harrison, but this is a world title fight, nothing is going to shock me.

Prediction: Haye KO within 5

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